The Norwegian Forest Cat has a history going back hundreds and maybe even thousands of years. This native cat of Norway, thrives in cooler temperatures and their lineage can be traced back to the Vikings. It is still a mystery as to where they originated but some claim they could be descendants of long-haired cats from Turkey. Another theory claims, they are related to the Siberian cat from Russia. Or they could simply have been the result of short-haired cats adapting to the harsh neat-Artic climate which produced descendants with wooly undercoats and long, water shedding topcoats.
The skogcatt - a Norwegian word that means "forest cat" – learned to survive by its wits. They are great mousers and earned their keep with farmers and housewives by ridding their homes of rodents. These cats were first exhibited in 1938 at a show in Oslo. World War II derailed plans for developing their breed. It took until 1977 for this breed to finally be registered with Europe’s Federation International Feline. A pair of Norwegian Forest Cats were exported to the United States in 1979, which has increased its popularity in Europe and the US.
This is a bigger cat. They have a long body and long legs which give them extraordinary climbing abilities. Fables claim they can climb cliffs by the sheer strength of their claws. Their head has a longer triangular shape with tufted ears and a wide base as well as a characteristically bushy tail. They have a very thick, water repellant coat that allows them to survive in extremely cold climates. Males can range from 13 to 22 pounds or more. Females are slightly smaller. They mature slowly and are full grown at about 5 years of age.
This gentle and friendly feline enjoys being part of the family but doesn’t demand constant attention. They are happy to just be in the room with you but can be rather reserved with guests. The Norwegian Forest Cat or Wegie as nicknamed, is not much of a lap cat but does enjoy a good scratch between the ears or under the chin. This usually soft spoken kitty, may become more vocal when its wants something or feels ignored. Climbing is a favorite pastime for these cats. They have no problem scaling up to the highest point in the house or descending from any area headfirst. Due to their wilderness background, Wegies think nothing of fishing in a body of water for a good meal. Aquariums or koi ponds are certainly not safe from this behavior. While the lovey being outdoors, they can be just as content to live indoors.
Norwegian Forest Cats are generally a healthy cat. They have a long life span of 14 to 16 years. Some diseases seen in the breed are: glycogen storage disease IV, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease, and retinal dysplasia. Bathing is usually needed which is good due their practically waterproof coat. Weekly brushing or combing is needed to help deter tangles in their long hair.
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a playful, intelligent cat with a friendly demeaner. Given the right amount of affection and attention, these cats will live a long and happy life.